I love, love, love the Olympics! It’s bordering on obsession. It’s less than a month until the start of the Rio Olympics and I’m already looking forward to my next Olympic fix.
My earliest Olympic memories are watching Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996). During the Olympics in Athens in 2004 I was doing temping jobs having returned from travelling. I turned down offers of work to maximise my Olympic viewing opportunities.
The Beijing Olympics in 2008 were held a couple of weeks after Sofia was born. I remember crying my eyes out watching a little girl singing during the opening ceremony. I watched a lot of the events through the haze of night feeds. Maybe it was the effect of all the hormones and sleeplessness – I remember being so overcome when a man from Togo won his country’s first ever Olympic medal (Benjamin Boukpeti in the slalom kayak to be exact!)
I was completely over the moon when London was awarded the 2012 Olympics. I was heavily pregnant with the twins during the 2012 Games so again very hormonal and emotional. My husband and I auditioned and were selected to perform in the opening ceremony. I was so sad that I had to drop out as I couldn’t keep up with the rehearsal schedule (I’ve written previously about our Olympic experience Olympics, Danny Boyle, Pregnancy and Grief). I was really lucky to visit the Olympic stadium to see the technical rehearsal of the opening ceremony. It was thrilling. I have such amazing memories of London 2012. It felt like the Olympics brought the country came together in such a positive way. There were so many stand out moments including the amazing achievements including those of Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah. I was on such a high long after the closing ceremony.
One of the things that is so special about the Olympics is the way it celebrates talent, hard work and physical and mental determination. Our modern culture has a lots of people who are famous for no real reason (I’m thinking the Kardashians and the endless reality TV stars). There is a lot of style over substance around these days. I love how the Olympics is the complete opposite of this. None of the hype or talking matters it is all about pure performance, the triumph of the fastest, the most skilled, the strongest. You can’t fake it. The difference between winning and losing is often only fractions of a second. I think it is great for our kids to see the dedication of the Olympic competitors – they are inspirational for all the right reasons.
The Olympics is full of some amazing stories. Tiny nations succeeding against the odds and who doesn’t love a triumphant underdog? Competitors who come back from near defeats to pull off unlikely victories. There are moments of drama and feats of individual effort and amazing team work. I watch as much of the coverage as I can. I find myself getting captivated by sports I’ve never seen before (or even heard of). I love how there is so much variety and I always get hooked on the most random events. I love seeing the high emotion of it all from the concentration of competition to people bursting with pride or shedding a tear on the podium.
I know that there are a lot of social and political difficulties in Brazil at the moment and that the run up to the 2016 games have been challenging. I really hope that things come together for the worlds greatest sporting event.
If anyone needs me between 05 August and 21 August I’ll be at home glued to the canoe slalom and crying over the synchronised swimming!